Asking someone who has worked for Seedcamp, the London based early-stage micro seed investment fund and mentoring programme, as an intern, and has now joined a startup working on on a service for the future of video & communication, is probably the best interviewee to give us valuable insights. We met Jakob and asked him, what makes each day enjoyable?
“I am Jakob Marovt, student of life (and computer science on the side ;)). I also love startups, previously worked at Seedcamp and just recently joined one of their winners – Vox.io. Enjoying every single minute of the startup road so far.”
How and why did you decide to join a startup, and where did your journey start?
“I came to know the world of startups back in 2007 when a Slovenian company Zemanta won the first incarnation of Seedcamp. I have been passionately following the increasingly growing ecosystem, reading a lot, following interesting people on Twitter and around within the blogosphere, went to Silicon Valley in 2010 and become totally hooked on the startup idea. Been chasing the dream ever since.”
Vox.io is part of the Seedcamp family. Has your involvment in Seedcamp as an intern been a stepping stone?
“It has definitely been a big step forward for me. I have had a chance to meet tons of interesting people, seeing even more interesting ideas come to life from (almost) nothing and Vox.io kind stood out for me in a way. The possible upside here is amazing. And them coming from my home country, Slovenia, probably played a small part in the decision too.”
You just recently joined vox.io. What are your responsibilities, and how would you describe an ordinary day in the office?
“Since joining Vox.io I have been closely involved in day to day operations, figuring out new ideas around the product, driving them from a sketch on the paper to a working version. I’m also responsible for most of the marketing and community relationship. We work a lot, but are not strangled to a specific working schedule. Everybody knows when there is time to put heads down and “hustle”, but also find time in between to have fun. It’s never boring at Vox.io HQ.”
Personally, what does it mean to work for a startup? What do you value the most?
“Freedom, (possible) big upside, team spirit. Most probably in this order of importance. I think that, especially in the early days of a startup, when the venture is still trying to nail down the product/market fit and has only a handful of employees, an individual really has freedom and vast opportunity to realize his ideas and be part of steering a possibly world-changing boat. It is an incredible, hard to describe feeling, when you feel you are part of something that could potentially have an impact, even for a bit, on lives of millions of people. That’s probably the thing I value the most.”
Do you need special super powers, or would you say that there are some folks who perfectly fit in this environment and some simply don’t?
“You definitely have to be willing to give up some things, but I personally think the positive aspects by far outweigh the negative sides. It is really important to clearly state the difference between startup founders and people working in startups: founders are really taking an enormous risk and have to be somewhat crazy to go down the startup path. Their employees, on the other hand, are sacrificing a bit of their spare time and, in the beginning, a small negative margin in the salary, but have a lot of power, freedom and are able to work in an inspiring, smart and dedicated team. If there are great founders to look up to and learn from, nothing can beat working for a startup.”
Speaking hypothetically, if you would be a graduate again wishing to work in a startup, where would you look for a job?
“I would probably go on Crunchbase and use their advanced search option to narrow down interesting startups in my area of interest and further go on their websites to look for job opportunities. Workinstartups.com is definitely positioned appropriately to disrupt this situation and make it easier for both startups and job seekers to come together. Wish you all the best on your path!”
Adding to my last question: Do you think that jobs in startups are sufficiently advertised in order to attract the smartest and most creative people? If not, what would be an ideal solution?
“Actually I see a huge problem here, which I have witnessed during my stay in London. Big, grey corporations, such as banks, insurance companies, hedge funds are very smartly targeting the best graduates, organizing meeting days at faculties, job fairs etc. Thus, a huge portion of the students can’t and don’t see beyond the mist of “safe, old school” jobs. That is a shame – people find themselves working and later hating big corporations, which don’t fulfill their early dreams and startups are left in a constant struggle to find the best talent. Hopefully, the winds will change soon.
Again, an initiative like Workinstartups.com could unite the startup community and organize special, at least monthly startup job fair events at universities, which would slowly, but definitely help spur the awareness and bring more talent to the “right companies” – the innovative startups of tomorrow.”
Where do you see yourself in 5 years – maybe starting own business etc.?
“I am heads down in Vox.io now and don’t think much about anything else. Will see where the road takes me, but I definitely see myself closely related to the startup ecosystem. Just can’t see myself doing anything else, I love it ;)”
Thanks for your time, Jakob, and all the best for you and your team!